Something To Do With Grace is for 5.0 a solo marimbist and eight percussionists that was written for James Armstrong and his All-Star High School Percussion Ensemble in Lancaster, PA, featuring soloist Grace Asuncion. With a good advanced level high school marimbist and percussion ensemble, this should be a very programmable work that audiences will find interesting and accessible.
The piece looks fairly intense for the soloist with mostly idiomatic writing in comfortable intervals but includes an aerobic section at the end. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “groovy” piece, but it has a good, energetic feel to it. It jumps around quite a bit at the end, which looks like the most difficult part. The percussion ensemble parts have fairly small setups for the most part, and some are more difficult than others. The xylophone, vibraphone and glockenspiel parts require advanced payers, as they don’t lay in patterns and will require some maturity. Both the score and individual part indicate that a 5-octave instrument is needed for the solo part, but the lowest note written is an E. In fact, most of the solo could be practiced on a 4.3 instrument.
I would imagine balance will always be an issue with this piece when pitting eight percussionists against one marimba soloist. Stout addresses that on the front page with this quote: “Instrument designations are only suggestions. Feel free to change which drums are to be used, in favor of a section-like and balanced sound!” If you are going to play this piece, youre percussion ensemble will need to be sensitive and your soloist strong.
— Julia Gaines, Percussive Notes — March 2017